Cobham subsidiary FRAviation (FRA)plans to take advantage of changes in the Australian domestic airline market to expand Adelaide-based National Jet Systems (NJS),which it acquired earlier this year in an A$62 million ($40.6 million) deal.


NJS' fleet includes 14 British Aerospace 146s, which it supplies along with crews and maintenance services to wholly owned Qantas subsidiary Airlink. NJS chairman Geoff Roe says the company is "not an airline", but is similar to UK companies such as Flightline which specialise in supplying aircraft and services as part of a package.

The Qantas contract accounts for more than 50,000h flying a year, representing 40% of NJS' business. Other commercial work includes Australian Air Express, an overnight parcels joint venture between Qantas and the Australian Postal Service, for which NJS supplies three BAe 146 freighters, and charters for mining companies.

Roe says that new Australian low-cost carriers such as Impulse and Virgin Blue might encourage Qantas to outsource more work, which could bring extra business NJS' way. He confirms that the BAE Systems Avro RJX has been evaluated, but will only consider an acquisition if a customer wants the type. A move to a larger type is also being considered, with the Boeing 737 the leading candidate.

The Australian company is to be split in two, with NJS continuing airline operations and the Surveillance/Coastwatch operation for the Australian Government becoming the first part of National Air Support, a dedicated government/special missions business.

Source: Flight International